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Jan Bauman, Mill Valley
"Oakland's Other Gang Program," News, 10/5
Less Self-Congratulation, More Work
The people who have all these untested "tough on crime" ideas seem to think that all the liberal social work ideas have been tried and that their tough-on-crime ideas are something new or "practical."
So why do people think that the social causes of crime have already been addressed? The problem is that our local yokels have said that they have tried restorative justice, community policing, wrap-around "scared straight" interventions, and so on — and they sure give each other awards at their fundraising dinners. But when you check on what these programs have looked like in practice, you will find that we never really did the job. Every time we need space for one hundred, they maybe have twenty spots. Every time we need to do something differently at the DA or the police department, what we get is foot-dragging, requests for more funding, and shuffling the responsibilities off to some powerless nonprofit. But nonprofit and liberal Democrat PR requires a constant self-congratulatory discourse of those who have claimed to have done more than they really have.
Don Macleay, Oakland
"Addie's Pizza Pie Gets a Re-Do," What the Fork, 10/5
Some Addie's Adulation
Addie's rocks! I can't speak to their crusts before, but their crusts now are just the right texture of chewiness. And if your kid won't eat anything other than pizza margherita, bring them here (or bring a pizza to them). They use really good cheese and boy, does that come through in the flavor. Plus, the staff is super. Our elementary school PTA decided to use Addie's as its pizza source for the fall pizza party honoring students who did all their required reading over the summer. Big hit. Not a crumb was left. To top it off (so to speak), they were willing to come in hours before they normally open, to do a special order for us and have it ready in early afternoon.
Kellie Whittaker, Berkeley
"How Peet's Starbucked Itself," Feature, 9/21
A Cole Coffee Convert
Wow ... I like Peet's coffee, but have seen it become so, so, so similar to Starbucks that I make a point to drive all the way across town to buy from Cole Coffee, where I've been going for about twenty years now. Love the coffee, it's locally owned, and when I walk in the door the people who work there are nice. So I tip well when I go in each week.
Francesca Paige, Albany
Vote with Your Dollars
I worked for a Peet's in Sacramento for fourteen months and came to all the same conclusions that are reported in this article. I agree with the recommendation to avoid supporting Peet's with your dollars and to buy your coffee elsewhere.
Yes, customer demands for speed may exact pressure on workers, but changes like having more staff on hand at any given time could easily alleviate some of the pressure on Peet's' staff. The company's management is at fault for the recent changes that put employees under such pressure to be ever-faster (to the point of physical injury), ever-friendlier, and more persuasive at selling products. A lot of my coworkers during closing shifts worked during their breaks to get done faster, since there was a certain time by which we had to clock out, regardless of how busy the store was. In order to avoid being yelled at by the store manager, they would just work on getting their tasks done off the clock. It's just not a company that treats its employees well anymore. At Peet's I was expected to work faster and harder and with fewer mistakes than anywhere else I've worked, and I made $8.25 per hour, which is 25 cents more than minimum wage. And there are many more retail corporations out there just like this. Peet's is just an example, but the message is to vote with your dollars by choosing to spend them at businesses that are worthy of your support — businesses that practice social and environmental responsibility. How you spend your dollars has a greater impact than how you vote. So if you want to change the status quo, know where you dollars are going. (And don't give them to Peet's. Or Starbucks.)
Liz Shenaut, Sacramento
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